Programs

Students are walking with their canes outside on White Can Day

Preschool

Satisfying Your Child’s Hunger for Knowledge and Need for Growth

Young children are capable, curious, active, and hungry for knowledge about their world. At VSDB, our job is to provide a developmentally-appropriate, language- and literacy-rich learning environment that nurtures children as they grow in their important early years. VSDB’s fully accessible preschool program supports the development of effective language and social skills with age-appropriate peers.

READ ON to learn about how VSDB can help your child grow, do, and ultimately become the person he or she has the potential to be.

Why Choose VSDB Preschool?

Learning Environment

A safe, child-centered and fully accessible learning environment filled with hands-on learning opportunities and experiences that evoke curiosity, stimulate problem-solving, and spark thorough concept development.

Community Experience

Community outings provide children the opportunity to relate classroom knowledge to the real world with hands-on, language rich learning experiences.

Curriculum

A child-centered, emergent curriculum — one that is developed alongside peers as their interests are revealed through their play, their questions, and their daily experiences.

Experiential Learning

Play-based, hands-on learning experiences with age appropriate peers that promote cognitive development, social skills, and language learning.

Literacy and Language

An all-day, every day emphasis on the development of  language and literacy skills using research-based best practices, accessible materials and technology, and instructional strategies that foster positive literacy experiences.

Individualized Instruction

Instruction is designed to ensure that each child’s individual educational needs are met and that instruction is delivered in the most effective manner to enhance the child’s strengths and to maximum potential.

Family Communication and Support

Reports

Mid-quarter and quarterly progress reports that cover the scope of the child’s development in the preschool program and in general

Family support services

    • Daily communication logs
    • Teacher-made sign language videos with content tailored to the family’s needs and interests (upon parent request)
    • Monthly newsletters about school happenings
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What does a typical day in preschool look like?

A typical day includes arrival time, breakfast, morning circle time, center activities, a theme based whole group activity, morning snack, pre-literacy instruction, music and movement time, math instruction, lunch, communication skills development, gross motor play, story, nap/quiet time, afternoon snack and departure. Fun theme related field trips are also embedded throughout the school year.

How many days a week is the program? What about program hours?

The program runs five days each week from 8:00 am to 3:15 pm Monday through Thursday and from 8:00 am through noon on Fridays. Your child may come to school during all of this time, or you may select days and/or hours that your child will attend the program. That is your choice after talking with the teacher about our daily schedule.

If my child starts school at VSDB, will he/she be expected to stay there throughout his/her entire educational experience?

Not at all. Some children attend only preschool, and others stay through high school. The most important determining factor is what is best for your child.

We’ll evaluate that together annually as your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed. Parents play a vital role alongside professionals on the IEP team. It is the team’s decision to determine whether or not your child will continue at VSDB. Many families choose to have their child benefit from preschool at VSDB, and then decide one or more years later that their child is ready to attend a school that is closer to home. For others, continuing at VSDB is the best option.

How will I get my child to and from VSDB?

Transportation is written into the child’s IEP. Cars outfitted with carseats are often used to transport children to preschool, as are buses equipped with child seats. Transportation will depend upon your desires as the parent, as well as resources in the school system and the number of children who will need transportation from your area.

What other benefits does an environment like VSDB offer?

VSDB is specifically designed for children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, who are blind or visually impaired, who are deaf-blind, or deaf or blind with other disabilities. We have a variety of experts on-site to meet the children’s needs.

Our teachers are all specially equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the special needs of our children. Adults in the daily routines and environment of our preschoolers provide role models that help them to develop a healthy self-esteem and emotional well-being.

Finally, children walk the halls of VSDB and are able to communicate with EVERYONE they meet. This is important in developing language skills as well as fostering a feeling of acceptance, success, and capability.

What if my child has special needs in addition to a hearing loss and/or vision impairment?

Do not let that stop you from considering VSDB as a placement option for your child! Our teacher is prepared to foster growth and learning in children with motor delays, vision needs, language processing problems, cognitive delays, and other disability categories. At VSDB, we provide Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy in addition to our related services in the area of speech-language therapy and audiology. Our small class size enables us to meet the needs of each child who comes through our doors in order to promote healthy, holistic development.

For deaf children, how are speech and listening goals met in a signing environment?

We recognize the important role that speech and listening skill development has in the overall development of a deaf/hard-of-hearing child. For this reason, we emphasize listening and spoken language skills throughout ALL that we do. Listening and speech, like all learning, develop best in the child’s natural environment. We combine speech and listening activities in the context of everyday routines while also providing pull-out services for those children for whom this service strategy is appropriate.

Sign language is the language of instruction, concept development, and peer and family interaction for the children at VSDB. Giving a deaf/hard-of-hearing child access to the world through sign language is both natural and effective, and we firmly believe that sign language has a very important role in the overall development of a child with hearing loss and in the child’s family.

The CROPS Program

VSDB Educational Urban Farm & Greenhouse

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” — Gertrude Jekyll

VSDB’s CROPS program and its Educational Urban Farm foster a culture of responsibility, independence, community, and wellness through outdoor experiential learning.

The program deepens students’ abilities to make connections between the natural world, their community, and themselves. And it’s a source of wonder, beauty, and profound enjoyment.

    • One acre devoted to crop production
    • Greenhouse
    • Raised bed garden
    • Sensory garden
    • Youth-managed garden business
    • Paved handicapped-accessible section of the garden
    • Solar oven

All Senses Fully Engaged!

Educational Urban Farm

Our three-acre farm is a place to learn skills, understand food production, gain appreciation for food and nutrition, and experience the joy of connecting with the natural world. In addition, teachers use the space for hands-on, environment-based learning in math, English, business, journalism, and other subjects.

The largest educational urban farm in Virginia, it produces over 6,000 pounds of vegetables and herbs each year which are used in our cafeteria and sold at the weekly farm stand run by our students. 

To reach all VSDB students, activities are designed to stimulate the senses including sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.

Weekly CROPS Classes

The CROPS program incorporates the farm into weekly 40-minute classes that are available to all VSDB educational departments. Teachers sign up their classes to participate. Students interact with the natural world through a variety of environment-based lessons that reinforce learning in the areas of math, science, nutrition, and the environment. Classes include tending the raised-bed gardens, helping out on the farm, cooking with the fresh produce, and ecosystem exploration.

Workforce Transition

Learning By Doing

Skills Development, Deepened Understanding, Personal Growth

VSDB’s Work Based Learning Program is a perfect fit for our “Grow – Do – Become” approach to education. While exploring a variety of jobs and potential career paths both on campus and in the broader community, students develop life and job skills and get the opportunity to try out, in the real world, what they’ve learned in school.

We build partnerships with local businesses and non-profits and partner with them to make sure that students receive the guidance and support they need to be successful while building independence and confidence.

Teenaged boy with food service gloves on preparing bananas sections in professional kitchen
Teenaged boy with tee shirt reading "unstoppable" in work setting

Benefits for the Student

    • Practical work experience in a real-world environment
    • Foundation for future employment and career
    • Understanding of employer expectations
    • Opportunity to test skills and knowledge gained in school
    • Interaction with the broader community

 

Benefits for the Community

    • Creates an environment of collaboration and cooperation among VSDB, local businesses, nonprofits, and the community
    • Fosters greater understanding of the abilities and capabilities of our students
    • Opportunity to mentor students and contribute to their personal growth

Contact Information

Sharon Ernest

Transition Specialist

 

Phone: (540) 332-9020

Email: sharon.ernest@vsdb.k12.va.us